CONTACT 13: Family Court judge faces charges

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - Crackdown on the court as a judge who's been called a bully on the bench is formally charged with wrongdoing. 

It's a case Contact 13 first reported nearly a year ago. 

"You don't understand! I love her! And I'm gonna miss her so much! Please don't do this to me!" A 12-year-old girl pleading to stay with her mother is ripped from the home and life she'd known for three years since her parents' divorce.

Instead of understanding, Family Court Judge Rena Hughes made threats that can be heard in a video which surfaced last year. 

"If you have any difficulties, [the child] will go to Child Haven,' says Judge Hughes. "It's not fun in Child Haven. In fact, they put you in a holding cell. Just like it would be jail."

That was June 2016 as Judge Hughes drastically changed the young girl's world--taking primary custody away from the mother and giving sole custody to the father instead.

Judge Hughes held the girl's mother, Welthy, in contempt. So Welthy filed a complaint with the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.

"My civil rights and my daughter's civil rights were violated clearly," says Welthy.

The custody case was transferred to another judge who gave Welthy joint physical custody last July. 

And last week, the state filed charges, accusing Judge Hughes of incompetence and abusing her authority. The Commission says Hughes failed to uphold and apply the law and failed to be fair and impartial when she held Welthy in contempt without due process and the chance to be heard.  They say taking Welthy's child away as punishment for contempt is against Nevada law. The Commission also accuses Judge Hughes of failing "...to be patient, dignified and courteous."

"The way the court systems twist these things and do not listen to children is horrifying," says Welthy. "Not only in my case. There are so many cases in every courtroom. In every state. These judges need to start listening to children. And all of the nonsense would end."

When we asked for a response to the charges filed against Judge Hughes, Clark County Family Court referred us to the judge's personal attorney and declined further comment.  

Hughes' attorney also declined comment but said they intend to deny each of the violations. 

The case will be scheduled for a formal hearing. 

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